Shanghai first stops

Every holiday has to begin somewhere, but knowing where to start isn't always easy.

First Stops is a collection of top picks you can rely on for a great time.

Bicycles in sunset, Shanghai, China.

Explore

Sightseeing in Shanghai doesn't necessarily mean sitting in traffic. Get your bearings by taking one of the fantastic Wheely Bike Tours. This unique experience is a heart-pumping way to get a real feel for the city, all from the comfort and freedom of your own bike. Your guide will lead you through the former French Concession, markets and bazaars, and the back alleys of Shanghai's Old Town, before finally stopping at the Bund for an unforgettable photo against Shanghai's awesome skyline.

 
Crabs, Shanghai, China.

Eat

One of the pleasures of visiting Shanghai is experiencing its thriving food scene. If you're keen to get your hands on a dish unique to the area, try the local delicacy of steamed hairy crab. These tasty crustaceans, from Yangcheng Lake and Tai Wu in Jiangsu province, are so-called because of the brown fur on their front pincers. Be prepared to get your hands dirty while sucking the delicious flesh and fragrant roe from the shell - getting messy is part of the fun.

 
Traditional tea in jars, Shanghai, China.

Drink

If you're looking for a relaxing way to spend your first day in Shanghai, sipping a cup of Chinese tea at one of the city's ancient teahouses is a great start. The Mid-lake Pavilion Tea House, originally built in 1784, is a tranquil spot in the middle of the Lotus Pond at the exquisite Yuyuan Garden of Old Town. Enjoy a cuppa and traditional snacks, such as preserved plums and glutinous rice dumplings, as you watch a tea art performance and listen to traditional music.

 
Maglev Train, Shanghai, China.

Relax

Shanghai moves at quite a pace, so it makes sense to get there in similar style. The Maglev train was the first high-speed magnetic levitation line in the world to operate commercially, and it's still one of the fastest in business. Put your feet up and zoom into the city from Pudong Airport at up to 430 kilometres per hour; one thrilling but comfortable ride. In just eight minutes, you'll be free to check in and explore the excitement this exotic city has to offer.

 
Family in oceanarium, Shanghai, China.

Play

Ever wanted to get up close to sharks, electric eels or poison dart frogs? Probably not, but the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium will change your mind. This incredible underwater world features four of the longest submarine tunnels on the globe, so you can see all manner of underwater creatures without dipping a toe in the water. Take an educational tour of Asian sea life or wander through its exhibition zones as 15,000 fish - including the Du Jian frog, bluegill and albino Agkistrodon perch - swim right past.

 
The Bund at night, Shanghai, China.

See

No trip to Shanghai is complete without a walk down the Bund, the romantic waterfront promenade that's as iconic to Shanghai as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Stand by the railings for the ultimate Instagram snap of the scenery and take in the contrasting sides to this diverse city. Even better, make it a must-do on your first night out and you'll see the buildings beautifully reflected in the Huangpu River.

 
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